Population pressure & farm size evolution in ethiopia threads of a narrative


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Ethiopian Development Research Institute and International Food Policy Research Institute (IFPRI/EDRI), Tenth International Conference on Ethiopian Economy, July 19-21, 2012. EEA Conference Hall

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  • Human capital accumulation played a big role in Asia, another region with very small farms and a long history of food insecurity. Growth of cities is emphasized in WDR 2009. There is also a sizeable literature on the rural nonfarm economy. None of these feature in Malthus’ original theory, while Boserip’s was more about farm intensification
  • However, endogeneity is still an issue, so we are planning to instrument with agroecological factors
  • Anna – what year is the birr? Also, what years is this based on?
  • Anna – what year is the birr? Also, what years is this based on?
  • Anna – what year is the birr? Also, what years is this based on?
  • Anna – what year is the birr? Also, what years is this based on?
  • We also found no correlation between farm size and income in the quantitative results
  • Population pressure & farm size evolution in ethiopia threads of a narrative

    1. 1. ETHIOPIAN DEVELOPMENT RESEARCH INSTITUTEPopulation Pressure & Farm Size Evolutionin Ethiopia: Threads of a Narrative Derek Headey, IFPRI with Anna Josephson and Jacob Ricker- Gilbert, Purdue University Ethiopian Economic Association Conference July 19-21, 2012, Addis Ababa 1
    2. 2. 1. Introduction• Since Malthus (c. 1800), economists have been intensely interested in the relationships between land constraints and human welfare• On the one hand, population growth amidst fixed land constraints might imply persistence of poverty and vulnerability to drought & famine• More recent theories emphasize technological intensification (Boserup 1965), human capital accumulation, and agglomeration economies through the growth of cities and rural towns 2
    3. 3. 1. Introduction• So we have a race between two endogenous forces: declining per capita land availability, and increasing technology and non-farm capital.• This already-complex story is made more complex by government policies and agroecological factors• Some agroecologies may be better suited to intensification than others• Governments can obviously facilitate or hinder technological development and accumulation of non-farm capital 3
    4. 4. 1. Introduction• The question we ask in this paper is “Which of these two basic forces is winning the race in Ethiopia?”• Interesting theoretical question, but very practical in a country with a long history of Malthusian and Boseripian processes.• Ethiopia also has an unusual mix of small farms and apparent land abundance,• Also an interesting history of land reform, and other policies to address the small farm problem: ADLI, roads, schools, safety nets, resettlement, family planning, large farms, urban development 4
    5. 5. 2. Data & methods• To address this question we use quantitative data from the ERHS, and qualitative data from focus group questionnaires in 12 ERHS villages• ERHS is very advantageous because villages were selected by agroecological differences• QUANT data used to examine relationships between population density and various welfare indicators, mostly with non-parametric methods• Population density is our focus because we think it is less endogenous than farm size, and because it is a better general equilibrium indicator 5
    6. 6. 2. Data & methods• Qualitative data is also very useful in this context because quantitative data has some omissions: • Institutional history (e.g. past, present and future of land regulation and reform) • Community characteristics (land availability) • Migration routes and trends • Perceptions/aspirations on issues like education, family size, general optimism/pessimism • Recent trends (last ERHS round in 2009)• So FCGs really complement formal ERHS analysis 6
    7. 7. 3. Quantitative results• First, some background on population density & farm size• Like other African countries, Ethiopia appears to have low population density (on average), but almost pervasively small farms
    8. 8. Figure 1. “Expected” rural population densities inAfrica and Asia, circa 2005, from GIS dataNotes: Authors’ calculations from the Global Rural-Urban Mapping Project (GRUMPS 2008). “Expected” rural population density is the sum ofpopulations in square kilometer grids in a country, weighted by the population shares of the grids within the total country population. Thismeasure is therefore “population-weighted population density”, and it reflects the population density experienced by an average rural person.*These population densities are calculated for the region as a whole.
    9. 9. Fig. 2: The distribution of rural population density in Ethiopian woredas, 2007 census 40 30Percent 20 10 0 0 100 200 300 400 500 600 700 800 900 1000 Population density (persons per sq. km)
    10. 10. Fig. 3: The distribution of mean crop area per hectaresacross 69 zones of Ethiopia, 2011 25 20 15 10 5 0 0 .25 .5 .75 1 1.25 1.5 1.75 2 2.25 2.5 Crop area per household (hectares)
    11. 11. 3. Quantitative resultsFinding 1 – Very non-linear relationship between populationdensity and farm size. Largely positive. Controlling for landquality may change this! 11
    12. 12. Quantitative resultsFinding 2-Net farm income per adult equivalent negativelycorrelated with population density 12
    13. 13. Quantitative resultsFinding 3– Off-farm income has a non-linear relationshipwith population density, but is very low in any case 13
    14. 14. Quantitative resultsFinding 4– Total income falls after a threshold of just under 500Person/km2. But as we saw in Figure 2, relatively few woredasare above this threshold 14
    15. 15. Qualitative resultsFinding 1-Access to land was regularly cited as one ofthe most important constraints.Clear links between population density & extent towhich farmers emphasized land constraints.In no village did people say there were sizeableamounts of unused cultivable landIn a few villages there appeared to be sizeable numbersof people that were effectively landlessHalf the villages said no link between farm size &wealth because land reforms gave more land to poor* 15
    16. 16. Qualitative resultsFinding 2-Substantial signs of intensification orattempts to intensify, but major bottlenecks.Quality & affordability of inputs a pervasive constraint,particularly high price of fertilizers.Seed quality a very mixed picture across villages. Somereported big yield improvements, others said thevarieties were ill-suited, poor quality or late.Quite a number of villages attempted adoption ofimproved techniques, new varieties or new crops. Butin some areas these failed (e.g. Gara Godo) 16
    17. 17. Qualitative resultsFinding 3-Substantial increases in out-migrationWith one exception (Imdebir), almost all villages saidout-migration was more common than in the past.Urban migration was sometimes mentioned, butmigration to the Gulf was the most frequentSeasonal migration trending up, particularly to largefarms in the north. In Gara Godo respondents saidevery household had at least one seasonal migrant.Mixed perceptions on resettlement policies: “goodthing, but there is malaria, lack of infrastructure, etc” 17
    18. 18. Qualitative resultsFinding 4-Education more important in the future, but …Quality was a major concernPrivate schools perceived as better, but few places hadaccess, and few were affordableMany farmers perceived that it was not worth makingbig investments in kid’s schooling because highereducation no longer guaranteed a job. 18
    19. 19. Qualitative resultsFinding 5-Fertility rates are decliningAlmost invariably respondents said this was largely dueto family planning interventions.Recent results from the DHS confirm a large decline inrural fertility in recent years (5.5 children to 4.8), whichdoes indeed seem related to family planninginterventions.In no village did respondents say that family sizes weredirectly shrinking because of land constraints (we planto test this in the future). 19
    20. 20. Qualitative resultsFinding 6-Mixed perceptions about the futureSome optimism about improved farmtechnologies, pervasive appreciation of improved roadinfrastructure, some optimism about educationBut there were major concerns about climate change(late rains), soil degradation, rising costs offertilizer, land constraints. 20
    21. 21. Conclusions• Ongoing work, so conclusions are tentative• Overall, we find very complex results• Farm sizes in Ethiopia are surprisingly small despite suggestion of abundant land• Land access is subjectively regarded as a major constraint, although redistribution of land appears to have de-linked farm size and wealth on aggregate• High pop density is linked to lower income beyond 500 persons/km2. But not many areas above this. 21
    22. 22. Conclusions• In the future we are planning to better control for agroecological variation• We’re also try to understand some of the possible benefits of higher population density, like better access to education, health and other servicesFinally, we hope to explore some key policy questions?1. Where are small farms a major constraint?2. Should these areas be targeted for special assistance?3. If so, how? Farm or non-farm investments? 22
    23. 23. Thank you!